City Moves Forward in Removal of Dead Trees - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

City Moves Forward in Removal of Dead Trees

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LAWTON, Okla_ Last week, the city of Lawton hired two contractors to carry out the task of cutting down hundreds of dead trees across the city.

It will cost an estimated $113,000 to remove all of the trees. A price-tag the city is pleased with. While the trees aren't a present emergency, the issue of dead tree removal is one the council and city officials truly believe is worth taking precautionary measures for to avoid a tragic situation. 

"If that tree were to fall over tomorrow on some kids coming home from school or something like that, boy we would certainly think it was an emergency then wouldn't we? It's one of those strange things, it's like a pending emergency. It's an emergency at any moment now, " said City of Lawton Community Services Director, Richard Rogalski.

The trees deemed dead were marked only with an orange "x", but property owners with dead trees on their lot have been sent letters notifying them of the situation. The last batch will be mailed out Wednesday.

"It gives them the number to talk to somebody at neighborhood services if they want to just identify the tree, they want somebody to come out and show them which tree we're talking about, and it also provides a mechanism for an appeal. So that if they felt the tree was really a healthy tree and somehow we mistook it, then they have the ability to appeal that, " said Rogalski.

After receiving the letter, the property owner will have 10 days to appeal. If a tree is appealed, it will be taken off the work order and inspected by an expert.

Rogalski said the city wants to err on the side of a healthy tree, but in the end, if a tree is decayed the risk the property owner and the city takes is simply not worth it.

"If you don't take these trees down, sooner or later they're going to fall. Dead trees fall, " Rogalski warned.

All of this comes at no additional charge to residents. All expenses will be covered by the emergency fund set aside by the city.

Because property owners are being given time to respond to their letters, the project does not have a set start date, but should get going in less than a month. Once underway, the removal of the trees is expected to move quickly and will be done in 2-3 weeks.

As for what will happen to the trees once cut down, they will be the responsibility of the contractors. Rogalski expects they will likely be taken to the landfill to be ground for saw-dust.

For Complete Roster of Dead Tree Removal addresses, click here.

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